Humanism in Mesopotamia

Humanism in Mesopotamia

Editorial note: This is a guest post by Faisal Saeed Al-Mutar, the 20 year old Iraqi founder of the Global Secular Humanist Movement – a forum for the discussion of rational humanism with 42K fans on Facebook. 



It started when I was a child and has never stopped since then: the desire to know things and to question.

I am in no sense a gifted person; this desire exists in every child in the world. But what stops many from following their natural curiosity is forceful indoctrination from their parents and/or the society they were born into.

Being born in Iraq was not my choice, and the consequences were tough enough to make any person desperate. But the reason I am writing this article is not to get your sympathy. Rather, I hope to inform you about what is happening in one side of our beautiful planet.

Why would a man in his 20s or 30s behead a 9 year old girl (as I have witnessed with my own eyes) in the middle of street in Baghdad? For money?  For reputation?

The answer, in my opinion, is simple: Dogma!

Dogma, ladies and gentlemen, is not a virtue but a disgrace.

Basing his life on ideas with no evidence to support them, having faith in a heaven filled with virgins, is what led this man to kill an innocent child because her parents belonged to a different sect born of the same dogma.

Unfortunate incidents like these, which I wish for no human, made me realize many things: most importantly, that the world needs more compassionate thinkers and skeptics who do good for goodness’ sake, and fewer people who believe they are doing good just because they will get a reward from deities in the afterlife.

I didn’t become a Secular Humanist because of my hatred for organized religion but because I understand them. Secular humanism is not a way of revenge but a way of life that all humanity needs.

As a result of that, I started the “Global Secular Humanist Movement” because I want people from all around the world to celebrate reason and science, make informed choices and celebrate goodness and compassion without expecting supernatural rewards. I want people to attempt to understand the world, appreciate it as it is, and create justice on earth by cooperating with each other here on earth rather than looking up to the skies in expectation of the Apocalypse.

In Humanism, there are NO leaders and NO prophets. YOU are the leader. If you dare to think for yourself , the doors of knowledge are open to you, the secrets of the universe are waiting to be discovered, and the world is waiting to be better understood.

As the late Christopher Hitchens said: “Take the risk of thinking for yourself. Much more happiness, truth, beauty and wisdom will come to you that way."

 

Author : Faisal Saeed Al Mutar , 20 years old , Born in Iraq – Babylon .

Founder of Global Secular Humanist Movement 

Secular Humanist / Skeptic / Writer.

This is what aliens would 'hear' if they flew by Earth

A Mercury-bound spacecraft's noisy flyby of our home planet.

Image source: sdecoret on Shutterstock/ESA/Big Think
Surprising Science
  • There is no sound in space, but if there was, this is what it might sound like passing by Earth.
  • A spacecraft bound for Mercury recorded data while swinging around our planet, and that data was converted into sound.
  • Yes, in space no one can hear you scream, but this is still some chill stuff.

First off, let's be clear what we mean by "hear" here. (Here, here!)

Sound, as we know it, requires air. What our ears capture is actually oscillating waves of fluctuating air pressure. Cilia, fibers in our ears, respond to these fluctuations by firing off corresponding clusters of tones at different pitches to our brains. This is what we perceive as sound.

All of which is to say, sound requires air, and space is notoriously void of that. So, in terms of human-perceivable sound, it's silent out there. Nonetheless, there can be cyclical events in space — such as oscillating values in streams of captured data — that can be mapped to pitches, and thus made audible.

BepiColombo

Image source: European Space Agency

The European Space Agency's BepiColombo spacecraft took off from Kourou, French Guyana on October 20, 2019, on its way to Mercury. To reduce its speed for the proper trajectory to Mercury, BepiColombo executed a "gravity-assist flyby," slinging itself around the Earth before leaving home. Over the course of its 34-minute flyby, its two data recorders captured five data sets that Italy's National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) enhanced and converted into sound waves.

Into and out of Earth's shadow

In April, BepiColombo began its closest approach to Earth, ranging from 256,393 kilometers (159,315 miles) to 129,488 kilometers (80,460 miles) away. The audio above starts as BepiColombo begins to sneak into the Earth's shadow facing away from the sun.

The data was captured by BepiColombo's Italian Spring Accelerometer (ISA) instrument. Says Carmelo Magnafico of the ISA team, "When the spacecraft enters the shadow and the force of the Sun disappears, we can hear a slight vibration. The solar panels, previously flexed by the Sun, then find a new balance. Upon exiting the shadow, we can hear the effect again."

In addition to making for some cool sounds, the phenomenon allowed the ISA team to confirm just how sensitive their instrument is. "This is an extraordinary situation," says Carmelo. "Since we started the cruise, we have only been in direct sunshine, so we did not have the possibility to check effectively whether our instrument is measuring the variations of the force of the sunlight."

When the craft arrives at Mercury, the ISA will be tasked with studying the planets gravity.

Magentosphere melody

The second clip is derived from data captured by BepiColombo's MPO-MAG magnetometer, AKA MERMAG, as the craft traveled through Earth's magnetosphere, the area surrounding the planet that's determined by the its magnetic field.

BepiColombo eventually entered the hellish mangentosheath, the region battered by cosmic plasma from the sun before the craft passed into the relatively peaceful magentopause that marks the transition between the magnetosphere and Earth's own magnetic field.

MERMAG will map Mercury's magnetosphere, as well as the magnetic state of the planet's interior. As a secondary objective, it will assess the interaction of the solar wind, Mercury's magnetic field, and the planet, analyzing the dynamics of the magnetosphere and its interaction with Mercury.

Recording session over, BepiColombo is now slipping through space silently with its arrival at Mercury planned for 2025.

Photo by Martin Adams on Unsplash
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NASA finds water on sunlit moon surface for first time

Water may be far more abundant on the lunar surface than previously thought.

Lunar surface

Credit: Helen_f via AdobeStock
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